It’s October, so that means it is World Mental Health Awareness month.
So why is mental health so important for Black, Indigenous, & People of Color, or BIPOC folks in the United States?
BIPOC groups show higher levels of anxiety, depression, and mental illness. What accounts for these high numbers?
There are many reasons. Studies have shown it usually comes own to “lacks:”
Lack of availability or access, lack of transportation, lack of child care, lack of trust in the healthcare system, difficulty taking time off work, insufficient health care coverage, and high levels of cultural stigma around mental health support in these communities in particular, language barriers, few providers who speak languages other than English, and cultural norms and values that are often incongruent with those of diverse cultures.
For refugees, who RefugePoint helps come to the U.S., the majority of whom would be considered BIPOC, mental health may also be affected by untreated trauma they’ve experienced when fleeing their countries of origin. Lastly, research has shown that, in general, there is a great deal of racism, bias, and discrimination in treatment in healthcare settings, and this results in lower quality of care and poor mental health outcomes.
We also know that black, indigenous, and other communities of color have a long history of resilience, survival, and thriving. This World Mental Health Month, it’s important to keep in mind that mental health is a right for everyone, not just for some, and that mental health and well-being for all is a global priority.